Where do you hold your fears & what's in your past

What is holding you back from Unfurling? 

Sometimes, in order to move forward, we have to stop and look at where we are right now and where we've been. Working out why we're holding onto the fear of Unfurling is a big help in starting to move forward from those blocks. To know what's holding us back enables us to let go of it. 

This week I'd like you to spend time connecting with your worries, anxieties and fears. Giving them space to speak to you, rather than ignoring them in the hope they'll go away. With the idea that "face your fear and it will disappear", or at least diminish.

During your days please write down any worry or fear, in a few quick simple words, and plan some time at the end of the week to settle down and give focus to a specific worry. By scheduling time, it will free up your week - rather than dwelling on each small fear as it comes up, you can say 'I've scheduled you in' and know that you'll get back to that. 

This isn't about setting time aside for a giant worry session, but more honouring your fears by allowing yourself to properly process them without letting them take over every moment during your days. This gives you space to keep on with your work, and tell the fear to wait a minute please. When you do sit down, look at your list and think about what you were feeling, why and how that fear has come up. With this focussed time you can work on problem-solving through your worries / fears / anxieties rather than simple working them over and over in your mind with no outcome. You'll also notice those small niggling fears don't stack up against something real, so you can learn (slowly slowly) to realise to let those fears go. 

*If you have any big issues that need to be resolved, please speak to someone about it, or make it a priority to work through to a solution. Financial issues can put a gigantic stress and strain on your creative outlet, as well as your whole life, as can other relationship issues.

If my kids ever come to me with a worry or fear, I ask them to work through to a solution. Rather than focussing on the problem alone, there is a solution for almost every fear your mind is mulling over. To give voice to fear gives you space to find a solution and work towards sending that fear on it's way. 

Some of my own fears include:

  • I'll never get the work done that my mind and soul wants to make
  • Family life, children, the mundane moments will take up everything I have and not leave space for me
  • I'll never have enough money to buy the supplies I need for making my creative works
  • I'll always be caught in the logistics of things, rather than elevated into the joy of simply making & creating
  • I'll never had that solo show that I so desperately want, and know I deserve, mostly because I won't get my work done, I'm lazy, or distracted, or pulled in other directions to have a dedicated arts practice
  • I'll never have a proper studio, so how can I take myself seriously
  • Something will keep happening before I get the chance... like needing to spend time or money or energy on my children, my family...
  • I'll have to keep working on 'other things' that are more commercial, in order to make money for my family, and never find the finances, space, time, "me-ness" to actually the work that my heart sings to make. (the 'other things' are things I enjoy doing, and bring me pleasure... but they're not quite the same as my creative art outlet). 
  • By the time the kids finally leave home I'll have missed the boat on "being a proper artist". All my opportunities will be gone, and I'll be left as an empty nester... (but this is silly... remember Louise Bourgeois made her most famous pieces much later in her life).

Please - share your fears with me, via email or the Facebook group. We can all help together to work through problems and find solutions. 

What challenges in your past have you still not worked through? 

I was listening to something the other day that made me realise that a giant part of why I'm so "ok" with putting myself out there is because of my mother's death. I'm not saying this to make you upset or sad or anything. I think talking about horrible things that happened in our past can be ok. Or at the very least, coming to terms with them. Not holding onto the fear, the depression, the intense sadness or grief or disappointment. But moving through all that. Not moving on and forgetting, but working through it. 

And finding who you are after you've worked out how to work through it. That's the biggest part. 

I know 100% that I would be a different woman today (and indeed different mother) if my own mother was still here. I would take things for granted in a completely different, blase way than I currently do. I possibly, probably (though I don't know) wouldn't have delved down this path as artist..... I do know that inside myself, a lot of my story is about being a motherless-daughter and a motherless-mother.* {If you want to read a little about my experience of my mother dying, I have written on my old blog about it.}.

But I'm this woman because I haven't held onto the devastation that was the left over of my mother dying so suddenly. I'm not saying this is good or bad, it's just what happened with me compared to with my sisters, who were are different stages of their lives & mothering. I feel like by working through my intense grief and letting it not control me, I was able to come through the challenge and find

*I'll probably use this phrase a bit, because well I do like the way it sounds. If you happen to be in the same motherless-ness state of life, then you might like reading these books by Hope Edelman

So - what I'm wondering is: what are you holding onto, that may be stopping you from becoming who you could be?

You don't have to share with me or any of us, but if you feel like sharing I'm here listening and open, ready to help you through what challenges you are holding onto. What past, or even current, things are in your life that are affecting who you are. 

When I applied for drama school, fresh out of high school, and didn't get in - I dropped it all. I think for a long time I held onto that sadness, of not becoming the dream of my childhood. My husband also applied for arts school, and while his portfolio blew them away, his marks weren't enough (it was a year when they had a lot of applicants, so they increased the required end of high school points necessary). I know he's held onto, because it was many years later that he finally went to collage, not for art, but for graphic design. While we don't talk about it a lot, I know that if he'd been to art school all those years ago then today he would probably have been a pretty excellent professional full time "artist".

Instead, both my husband and myself are working towards our 'art' being our income as well as our passion, rather than our craft or design work or teaching being our main income. Not that those things are wrong, but somehow it feels like for mebeing a practicing artist is where I know my future will be. Beginning by letting go of that shame of not getting into drama school or arts collage helps to move forward in terms of calling myself "AN ARTIST". 

Giving myself permission to be an artist, not waiting for a collage or school to give the permission, is the most powerful thing I can do for myself. But.. if you need permission from someone to go ahead and do that thing that you know inside you can do, ask me - because I'm giving you permission!

Be your best 'art critic'

Gather together five pieces of your creative, the ones that most represent who you want to be, and put them side by side. Or arrange the photos of them side by side. Look at them as critically as you can, like and arts critic. Analyse them, write down (non-emotionally) their artistic qualities. Now, write down emotionally how they speak to you. 

When ever I analyse my own artwork I remind myself that IT IS INDEED GOOD ART. And it somehow works towards telling those horrible inner bad critics (rather than the good constructive critics) to shut up already.